One of the best tools, I’m told, to help gain potential customers is to have a “Google my Business” page. FTR, I’ve always been an opponent of Google and it’s “meta data collection” policies. I don’t use Gmail, or any of their services where I have to “log in.” But I now see that it still offers the largest pool of available and potential clients. People normally aren’t looking for a Notary (have very little idea what one is or what they do), and when they do need one, they go right to Google and enter “Notary Near me…” So it does pay to be on their site and to create a “Google my business” page. The problem being, Google won’t verify my business!
Google has been more strict recently about the businesses they allow on their site and the rules they have for “verification.” Your business and its practices must follow their rules to be verified. In particular:
Your business must have a fixed physical location, or: be a mobile business that services the community. If a “fixed physical location,” there must be signage that advertises the business. It must be permanent signage. And you must take pictures of it and send it to them.
If you are a “mobile” business, then you must have a “business vehicle” that has permanent signage advertising the business on the vehicle. You must also take pictures of it and and send it to them.
If you have neither of the above, Google won’t verify your business. And, of course, I don’t have either of the above. I work from my house, but I can’t list that as my place of business because I live in a “deed restricted” community and the HOA does not allow advertising signage outside the house. As a matter of fact, they don’t even allow vehicles with advertising signage to be in the driveway of the house (not “permanently/overnight”)! Furthermore, I don’t own any vehicle at all. I sold my vehicle during the pandemic as I wasn’t using it much and I didn’t want to pay for the insurance when I wasn’t using it. This, of course, before I decided to become a Notary. When I go to loan signings now, I use Uber and Lyft. It does mean I have to limit my service area “radius” for loan signings to about 15 miles from my house, but I’m willing to do that now in order to build my list of clients and reputation. If I’m still a Notary 3-4 years from now, I may consider leasing a vehicle at that time to get more/better loan signings. But I digress.
I guess Google doesn’t accept how I conduct my business. They feel I (and all mobile businesses) have to have a vehicle with signage. Therefore, it’s has been difficult to get Google to verify/list my business. What I have done is engage a “marketing” service to negotiate with Google on my behalf. It would appear that I may have made a little more progress with this, but we are still not at the final goal.
If you have faced similar issues with Google, what did you do to get around them and get your business verified?
Here is the page to verify a google business page. There is nothing about a business vehicle or permanent signage on a building on the website. Claim and Verify Your Business Profile on Google - Google My Business
I looked at the page you quoted. I would suggest that the information on that page is a little “out of date.” It’s the Google Business support team that’s telling me I need a business vehicle for a mobile business. And they’ve said that to me within the last month. They’ve also said the same to the marketing firm that took on my case, in the past month. As I stated, their policies have become “more strict” recently. Furthermore, the “post card” option, per the page is no longer available (at least it wasn’t to me).
I suspect that Google’s policies are changing faster than they care to update their pages. Either that, or they are deliberately not updating them in order to not discourage people from applying. And, again, I admit that my situation is “unique,” but one that still should be verified as I do provide the services per their general requirements. We’ll have to see.
The one thing that’s helped my business is an SEO optimized website. Keep in mind playing Google’s SEO game is like playing Wack-O-Mole while blind folded. I keep a google business page active, but competition means it’s always shifting up/down. I get more hits on my webpage than from GMB. Also keep in mind there are SEO “professionals” who aren’t, but will promises that will transform your business, then disappear after your payment clears the bank.
Google has been criticized for not filtering bogus or nefarious actors. For example, if you handle Tax resolution cases, putting the words Tax Resolution or Tax Debt Resolution in your Google business page or web sight SEO, Google will remove your listing. Google has stated this is due to the proliferation of scams in the debt resolution industry.
Update: And a very pleasant one at that!
As of this morning, my Google Business page has been activated and is now live! Yayyyyy!
It came down to my submitting a link to the Florida Dept. of State’s website that lists active Notaries. That, apparently, sufficed in place of a “business license.” So if you Google “MAG3 Notary Services,” you’ll see it there.
I appreciate that folks at “Straight Marketing” who helped me through this journey. Now, I have to customize the page and get it ready to attract customers.
A word of advice @mag3_notary - I’m in FL (Columbia County) - my county requires a business license. Check on your county level, if you’ve not already done so, and if you don’t have that license, get it if they require it.
Where in Columbia County if I may ask? When I first moved to Florida in March, 2015, I rented a man’s house in Ft. White. He lived right around the corner from my Cave Diving Instructor. I was there for about 1/2 year before buying my house in Pasco County Fl, where I also have their Bus. Tax receipt License.In fact, I’ll be renewing it next month.
LOL. We live in Fort White
I have, and I’m on them. I’m on Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, and a similar forum local to my community. But none of them have the potential reach that a Google Business page has. And, unlike Google, none of them are the “first place” people would look to find such services. They don’t say, “Google it” for nothing, right?
But it really doesn’t matter now, as Google did verify/activate my page. Now, I have to do things that will make my page list higher in “the list” than others in my community… So that it’s one of the first they see, when they do “Google it.”